January 18th is Winnie the Pooh Day! Why? Because it’s the birthday of author A.A. Milne who created Winnie and his pals Christopher Robin, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet, and Roo.
• The first Winnie the Pooh story was in the London Evening News on Christmas Eve in 1925.
• The first Winnie the Pooh book, titled Winnie the Pooh, was published October 1926.
• Winnie the Pooh and all his friends are based on stuffed toys that belonged to Milne’s son, Christopher Robin. The toys the inspired the books are now housed at the New York Public Library.
• Eeyore was a 25″ stuffed animal given to Christopher one Christmas. Over time, the toy lost some stuffing in his neck causing his head to droop, which was the inspiration for the melancholy character.
• Pooh was purchased at Harrod’s department store in London and given to Christopher on his first birthday. He was called Edward (the British proper form of Teddy) Bear at the time.
• Winnie-the-Pooh was named after a Canadian bear that Milne’s son had seen at London Zoo (Winnie) and a swan near the family’s country home (Pooh).
• Winnie the Pooh is also called Pooh, or Pooh Bear, but never, ever, just Winnie.
• Christopher Robin was not the only one to play with the toys – the family dog also enjoyed playing with them, which may be why they have such a well-worn appearance.
• The baby kangaroo stuffed animal (Roo) was lost in an apple orchard during the 1930s.
• Ashdown Forest in Sussex, near Milne’s country home Cotchford Farm, was the inspiration for Hundred Acre Wood.
• Winnie the Pooh merchandise can be found in over 38 countries.
• Winnie the Pooh books and videos have been translated in 29 languages.
• Forbes magazine ranks Winnie the Pooh as the second most valuable character with $5.6 billion in global retail sales (Mickey is 1st with $5.8 billion).
Christopher Robin Facts:
• A. A. Milne and his wife had expected a baby girl, whom they planned to name Rosemary. When he turned out to be a boy, they wanted to call him Billy, but decided that name was too informal. Billy became his nickname.
• As a child, Christopher called himself Billy Moon because that was how he pronounced his last name.
• As was customary for upper-middle class families at the time, Christopher, an only child, was raised by his nanny and formally met with his parents during short periods three times a day. As Christopher grew up, his parents started spending more time with him.
• Christopher was a thin, little boy who had to take “strengthening medicine” (like Roo’s) to help his bones and muscles grow.
• Christopher learned how to box as a way to defend himself from classmates who teased him about the popular books.
• Neither his parents nor his nanny ever read him a story!
• Christopher loved the stories that his father wrote.
Quote of the Week:
“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.” ~ Winnie the Pooh